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Speaking Notes

If you can read my slides & know what I’m going to say, then why am I presenting them?


I’m sometimes asked if I can submit my presentation in advance of delivering it. Often, that’s to make life easier for the AV people, though maybe we shouldn’t let the tail wag the dog. But occasionally, it’s because the organiser wants to ‘take a look at’ what I’m going to present.



That can be useful. If I’m presenting to an audience in a very different cultural context, there might be things that won’t make sense to them, or even cause offence, that I’m blissfully unaware of. No one wants that.



But they are few and far between. In most cases, I know what’s going to work because, as they say in Texas, this isn’t my first rodeo.



Since I work for myself, I’m not bound by corporate guidelines, templates or other forms of PowerPoint-induced constraint. Which means I can have ‘slides’ that really are slides; images that fill the entire screen with few if any words. They’re a backdrop not an executive summary.



What makes for a great show, delivers a lousy pre-read.



𝗟𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻


There’s another reason those reviews are unhelpful. While most of my content is prepared in advance, I always leave room for last minute inspirations.



Often, that’s something I see en route or in the venue which can be so compelling it becomes the highlight of the show. You won’t ever see that in a pre-read.



It’s also why no two presentations I ever deliver will be exactly the same. Even on the same subject for the same client; each will contain something unique.



I’m well aware this approach won’t appeal to everyone. It requires you to trust me. Which is why I put a lot of content out on social media so you can see what you’ll get before you buy.



𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲? 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝗿𝗲!


If that’s not for you, then don’t hire me. There are lots of people out there who can give you want you want.



If you’re hiring me — and fortunately, lots of people do! — then it’s because you want me to ‘wow’ your audience, not deliver something predictable.



I need the ideas and inspirations I’m sharing to leap off the screen and implant themselves into the audience’s mind.



They won’t do that — at least not for what I’m talking about — if I’m presenting something they can read for themselves in advance.



Which is why our AI-generated friend in the picture is looking confused. Because what he’s looking to preview isn’t a keynote, it’s a lecture.

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